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Lesson Plans


[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Henry Taylor (taylorh)
Sun, 7 Feb 1999 08:35:29 -0700

Part of what makes the connection between meaning and size apparent is our
contexting, our relationship to the context(s) of the object under

When we can locate a context for an object we can begin to reflect on the
meanings of size in that context. It's much easier when the form of the
large or tiny object is famliar and the place where we find it has further
associations much meaning can be mined at Mount Rushmore.

Let's recover a massive and biomorphic object of human manufacture from
beneath the sands of the Kalahari. Were does the meaning come from? In its
original context we could expect that the object had meaning. As an
unfamiliar thing uncovered by the wind we are at more of a loss. Where do we
look for meaning?

What is the first thing you want to know as you try and understand this
object? Would it be useful to compare it with something else, something more
familiar? How would you choose such an object for comparison? ...on what
basis ought the choice to be made?

Perhaps the object began it's "life" as art with that intention or
"destination." Perhaps we are simply metamorphosing it into art. Much of
contemporary thought in art assumes the inherency of meaning and meaning
will be established for the object. Size will be a significant part of that
meaning. Why? Why not texture or some tactile quality like hardness.
(Important in some aesthetics on the African continent, I understand.) What
role would a cultural bias for vision play?

Does such a bias come into play in our own concern for the meaning of size?
How much about meaning involves history or tradition or bias of some sort?

I seems, perhaps. that meaning is a form of pattern and that humans
especially need to distinguish patterns and where appropriate establish
meaning. This raises a question actually... Is meaning, in this case the
meaning of size, FOUND or ESTABLISHED? Is it inherent or accretional,

If we are to speak in general, maybe universal, terms about meaning it seems
almost like cheating to talk about familiar things where we are already
immersed in the context. Do we need to look at the general and ambiguous
(universalized?) object as well to get a clearer view? (there's that visual
bias creeping in again: "look" "view")

One last question... how do we come to know what size means? How have we
learned 'the rules?"

in Tucson